It is not a crime, nor should it be, to profit off a business model that meets the needs of its customers, and in Amazon’s case, it is certainly the right service at the right time.
Amazon sells convenience. We like convenience. We make changes in habits for greater convenience. It’s sort of an evolutionary survival mechanism. However, swiping right to buy on your Amazon app may be the easiest, but does it always deliver the most affordable, best selection, or quality products? Can we rethink this new habit? Can we spread the wealth around, without using oppressive laws? It might mean avoiding the shiny new thing, which glistens with deceptive shine.
I decided to avoid buying from Amazon over the last several weeks.
For gifts that needed to be shipped, I ordered online from other, smaller retailers. The first gift I ordered from Hudson’s Bay. It worked very well; in order to meet the $100 free shipping threshold, I added a Christmas gift. Another birthday gift was ordered online from Shoppers Drug Mart. They were offering free shipping over $50. Both orders arrived in less than a week. In both cases, I didn’t worry about the quality being second-rate, as I would have with Amazon.
I also needed a few things for reorganizing a closet. I checked Amazon first in that case, because I figured I wouldn’t find it locally, but they didn’t have it in the size I needed. I went to my local Home Hardware, in the Hart, and they had exactly what I needed, at a price that was good.
Then last week I popped into Michael’s, a store I don’t often shop at, to look for something I couldn’t find on Amazon either. A bonus as my cashier was an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for some time. We had a lovely little catch up visit while she checked my items.
At Books and Company, I felt a bit apologetic because I had just bought a set of books I found at Amazon for half the price Books and Co could have ordered and sold. However, I did find another item I was looking for and found a gift perfect for my Mom, both at very good prices, too. As I was chatting about this to the cashier, she asked for updated contact information to enter me in their draw for $200. That was fun, and certainly a richer experience than swiping right on my Amazon app.
My Amazon-avoidance experiment yielded surprising results. The online shopping at other retailers was nearly as convenient, but with better selection and pricing. The local shopping had comparable prices and better selection. I also got to see and chat briefly with an acquaintance.
To sum up, there is a place for huge companies like Amazon, but it doesn’t deserve to have first place when thinking of where to buy.